It’s pool season once again and you can’t wait to jump into the water and splash around or do some laps. But before that, you first need to deal with that dirty pool cover and all the horrors that hiding underneath it. Well, you can go ahead and hire a pool service company and make your life so much easier. But if you’re up to it, you and a couple of friends can deal with the problem yourselves. Besides, knowing how to open a swimming pool can potentially save you lots of money which you can then spend on upgrading your pool equipment (or any other way that you see fit). Should you decide to go ahead with opening your pool DIY-style, here’s how you do it. Keep in mind that there are various ways of doing this, with one expert telling you to do this and another telling you otherwise. Still, the following steps are generally employed by most pool owners when opening their swimming pool.
Grab Your Cleaning Equipment and Supplies
Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all the pool cleaning equipment and supplies lined up in the poolside and within reach. You’ll probably already have some of the items on hand, but you may need to pick up a few other things. You don’t want to be running back and forth to your local pool supply store now and then, so create a checklist and lay everything out. To open your pool properly, you need the right tools for the job, including:
- Telescopic Pole
- Skimmer Head
- Pool Brush
- Test Kit or Test Strips
- Leaf scooper
- Pool brush
- Pool hose
- Pool testing kit
- Pool vacuum
- protective gear (safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves)
Aside from the hardware, you’ll also need a few pool chemicals to shock and balance your pool’s water chemistry like a pH increaser and decreaser, metal sequestrant, algaecide, and others. There are start-up chemical kits that should include everything you need, or you can test your water first, and based on the results buy only the chemicals that your pool water requires.
Clean the Surroundings
Most pool owners are concerned about scrubbing their pool’s floors and walls and balancing the water chemistry that they forget one of the most important steps in opening their swimming pool: cleaning the pool’s surroundings. In fact, professional pool cleaners recommend that before cleaning the pool itself, homeowners should start with addressing the problems surrounding the pool.
One reason for this is that cleaning your pool would go much more smoothly without shrubs, tree branches, flower pots, and other items strewn all over the backyard. Besides, cleaning the backyard after you opened and cleaned the pool may result in dirt and debris falling into the pool, which means that you’ll have to clean the pool all over again.
When cleaning the surrounding area of the pool, take some time to clean up plant debris from the pool deck, patio, nearby planting beds, and everything else that has the potential for producing debris in your pool. Prune tree branches and hedges that have grown in recent months and hanging over your pool as well.
Clean the Pool Cover
After winterizing or covering your pool for months, you’ll see that there is quite a lot of stuff that’s accumulated atop your pool cover. Removing the dry debris (i.e. fallen leaves, twigs, etc.) can be done by sweeping them away followed by a quick spray of water using the garden hose or a pressure washer if you have one.
To get rid of the murky water on the pool cover, you’ll need a cover pump or a submersible. Some pumps can remove the water quickly while others may take quite a while to complete the task. In any case, know the capabilities of your pump so that you don’t end up overworking it.
Removing, Cleaning, and Storing the Pool Cover
Having an extra set of hands will make this part of opening your pool much easier. For one, it will reduce the time necessary to remove the pool cover. Second, you need to carry (not drag) the pool cover to a flat spot where you can clean it. So if you’ve got your chum with you now, here’s what to do:
- Stand on one side of the pool and have your buddy stand on the opposite side, then lift and fold the cover back and forth like an accordion. While doing so, inspect the pool cover and keep an eye out for any damage that it may have incurred during the last few months. If there’s any irreparable damage, consider getting a new pool cover.
- Once the pool cover is all folded up, carry it to a flat area like your lawn or driveway. It would be great if you can find a flat, sloping area as this will help the water runoff easier, thus allowing the pool cover to dry faster.
- Apply a pool cover cleaner and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the surface. Avoid using any abrasive scrubbing pads and harsh chemical cleaners since these can damage your pool cover.
- Rinse the pool cover with clean water.
- Dry the pool cover by wiping it down with a dry cloth.
- Once the pool cover is completely dry, fold it carefully and put it back in its storage bag or a heavy-duty container. Store the pool cover in your shed or garage, making sure that the bag or container is properly sealed to prevent insects and rodents from nesting inside.
Skim the Pool
Using your skimmer, scoop up, and grab any debris that may have fallen from your pool cover during the removal process. Make sure that you get everything out since these may end up clogging your filtration system when you turn it on later.
Pool Equipment Cleaning and Installation
One of the first things you need to do when cleaning your pool is to remove the expansion or freeze plugs from the surface skimmers and wall returns. This is also a good time to restore the directional fittings.
Check the pool filter and pump, as well the underwater lighting systems if you have any. Check for any signs of damages and have them repaired or replaced if necessary.
Get the handrails, pool slides, ladders, diving boards, and any other pool accessories which you stored in the last few months. You can scrub them clean using a mild detergent. For chrome coated accessories, use a chrome cleaner and polish to give them a glimmering, brand-new look. Once they’re all cleaned up, you can start to reattach them. Make sure that you tighten all the nuts and bolts so they don’t come loose later on.
Scrub the Pool
Time to put those muscles to work, so put your gloves and boots on and get down to business. Clean the leaves, twigs, and any other debris that are lying all over the pool’s floor. If you covered your pool properly during the offseason, then this shouldn’t take up too much time and effort. Be sure to scrub the floor and walls well to remove calcium scale and all forms of algae. While you’re at it, be sure to inspect your pool (fiberglass, concrete, or otherwise) for cracks and repair them right away.
Once you’re satisfied that your pool is all cleaned up, you can now start to add water to the pool. Fill the pool to the midway up the skimmer, and make sure that you use a hose filter to keep water minerals and other contaminants from getting into your pool.
To keep productive while waiting for the water to reach the desired level, plumb in the pump and replace the drain plugs on it as well as on the pool heater and chlorinator. Be sure that the breakers are off before this.
Set up and Run Your Filter and Pump
Once the water level is midway up the skimmer, the pool pump and filter can be started. But first, open the return side valves to be sure the water being pulled into your pump has somewhere to go. If you have a multiport valve, turn the handle to ‘waste’ and replace the air bleeder, sight glass, and pressure gauge.
After that, you can switch the circuit back on and turn on the pump. Once water is flowing through, your pump is primed. You can then switch your multiport valve to ‘filter’. While in operation, take a look at your filter and wash or replace it if necessary.
Once the pump and all other related pool equipment are up and running, check for any signs of leaks. If you spot any, turn off the pump and do the necessary repairs. If there aren’t any, continue running the pump.
Test and Balance the Water
Using a cup, take a sample of your pool water and check the pH and chlorine levels using a pool test kit or test strips. Be sure to check the expiration date on the test kits and strips first, otherwise, you’ll end up with a wrong reading.
If you want a more accurate reading, you should consider taking a sample to your local pool supply store. They will be able to do a more thorough check of your swimming pool’s total and free chlorine, pH and alkalinity levels, cyanuric acid or chlorine stabilizer, and calcium hardness. This may also be a good idea if this is your first time opening a pool since this will give you an accurate baseline to work from for the rest of the season.
Once you have an idea of what needs to be adjusted (pH levels for instance), you can start working on balancing your pool’s water. Start with the alkalinity levels, then the pH levels, and finally the calcium hardness. You can use other chemicals you see fit, but you should avoid adding any unnecessary chemicals.
Shocking Your Pool
To get your pool water clean and crystal clear, you’ll need to shock your pool. Shocking is an important step for getting rid of all the dirt, bacteria, algae, and other organic contaminants that may still be in the pool after you clean it.
The process of shocking (also referred to as super chlorinating) is a way to keep pool water safe and clean by drastically raising the chlorine level for a short period of time. To shock your pool, you’ll need to add three to five times the normal amount of chlorine or other chemical sanitizers to the pool water.
Now, the amount of shocking solution you’ll need will depend on the condition of the water in your pool. Some pool chemistry experts recommend using two pounds of chlorine shock (for chlorine systems) per 10,000 gallons of water. Other experts may recommend more or less than that amount, again depending on your pool water’s condition.
But before you start with the process, be sure to put your safety gloves and goggles on. These chemicals may interact negatively with the hands-on your skin if you’re not careful, and needless to say, they can be very painful on the eyes.
There are two ways to shock your pool. First, you can pour the shock straight into your pool water slowly as you walk around your pool. Second, you can mix the shocking solution with water in a bucket before pouring the mixture straight into your pool. In line with the latter, avoid using different types of shock in the same bucket. Also, if you use the bucket method, do not use the same bucket for other chemicals even after you rinsed it.
Finally, all the hard work’s done. What’s left now is to turn on your filtration system and leave it running for at least 24 hours. This should be enough time to mix up the shock and filter the remaining debris, dead algae spores, and any other gunk.
Globo Surf Overview
Opening your pool for the season appears to be a lot of work. Nonetheless, all of these steps and procedures are necessary if you want to be able to enjoy using your pool for the rest of the summer. Besides, learning how to open a swimming pool is an essential skill for every pool owner to learn. This will not only save you money, but it will also ensure that your pool is clean and safe for you, your family, and your guests.